Spring Blitz: Safeties

With the Horned Frogs beginning spring ball on Feb. 24th we continue to get an early look at individual position battles and how each position we at HornedFrogBlitz.com feel will turn out. Up next, we look at the talented group of Frog safeties.

Sam Carter | 6-1, 220 | sophomore
James Bailey | 6-1, 205 | redshirt freshman
Jamie Byrd | 5-11, 190 | redshirt freshman

Elisha Olabode | 5-10, 182 | Junior
Chris Hackett | 6-2, 200 | redshirt freshman
Geoff Hooker | 5-10, 180 | sophomore

Jonathan Anderson | 6-3, 208 | sophomore
Quincy Aldridge | 6-2, 195 | redshirt freshman
Trent Thomas | 5-11, 190 | junior

2011 STATS (Returning leaders)
Anderson | 49 tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble
Thomas | 18 tackles
Carter | 8 tackles

Unit Ranking: B+
Strengths: Athleticism through the roof, most athletic group I've seen at safety in 7 years
Weaknesses: Inexperience, young

This is the most athletic group of safeties I've seen in the seven years I've covered TCU football. From top to bottom, this group has size, speed and will knock your helmet off. Five safeties are over 6-foot-1, 200-pounds; that's the kind of size you need making the transition into the Big 12. Another glaring fact, among the nine safeties on the spring depth chart, seven of them are underclassmen. The best news for Frog fans was the ability to redshirt guys like Chris Hackett, James Bailey, Quincy Aldridge and Jamie Byrd last year. The class of 2011 haul at safety was the best in the Patterson era.

What to watch: The emergence of young safeties

Make no mistake about it; the safety position is Gary Patterson's baby. He will watch with a close eye and you never know from day to day where the players will end up on the depth chart. One day they could be with the first team and the next day they could be third team. This unit is deep enough for three safety positions and once Jordan Moore and Zach Jackson arrive in the fall, the group will be even deeper. At free safety, Chris Hackett is the guy to watch. At 6-foot-2, 200-pounds Hackett was a player that got some reps as the starter at free safety in fall camp. He is a player the coaches are very high on and like the other talented players from the 2011 class, it's a big plus the Frogs were able to redshirt him. Jonathan Anderson recorded 49 tackles in reserve duty which included his monster performance against BYU when he racked up 18 tackles and an interception. As a sophomore, he is already a leader of the group.

Breakout player: Chris Hackett

Without a doubt the player most will keep their eyes on at safety this season is Hackett. The John Tyler product came to TCU with high expectations; and for good reason. If Hackett can gain control of the defense at free safety and take ownership of that role, the sky is the limit for him. Hackett is a player that impressed Patterson last season as a true freshman and he came very close to seeing the field. He has the best athleticism of the group. Can he be the quarterback of the defense? Yes.

Breakout player II: Quincy Aldridge

Like Hackett, Aldridge impressed Patterson during his freshman season. Aldridge also has the range to play weak safety and could seriously push Anderson for the starting weak safety spot. What impressed me the most about Aldridge is his cover skills; he is a player that has shown an excellent break on the ball.

Watch for James Bailey

As mentioned above, none of these spots are locked down. That is especially true at strong safety. Sophomore Sam Carter heads into spring at the top of the depth chart, but Bailey is a player who will push him to the limit. Carter has the advantage with size, in the 4-2-5 the strong safety is asked to help support the run just like a linebacker would. Carter is a legit 220. Bailey on the other hand isn't small, but what he lacks in size comparison he makes up for as a better cover guy.

Imagine this…

If Sam Carter, Chris Hackett and Jonathan Anderson lock down the #1 spots, that's an average of 6-foot-2, 209 at safety. And they can all run.

Spring predictions: - Carter, Hackett and Anderson lock down starting spots
- Olabode, Aldridge and Bailey are the backups
- Hackett has the best spring of all the safeties

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